[b]High definition and Cablecam put viewers right on the field
Now it will be really tough to watch games with a regular set[/b]
This may not have been the greatest Grey Cup game ever played, though it was close.
But there’s no doubt that it was the best Grey Cup TV production ever.
Of course, it should have been. Armed with the biggest arsenal of technology in the game’s history, CBC would have had its broadcasting licence revoked if it blew this one. But working with high definition for the first time in football and using the Cablecam for the first time ever, the CBC broadcast excelled.
It wasn’t perfect. The camera operator was faked out of his Calvin Kleins and missed Anthony Calvillo’s bootleg touchdown in the fourth quarter. And announcers Mark Lee and Chris Walby should have known that you can’t make two forward passes on the same play, as Calvillo did in overtime.
But all things considered, it was outstanding.
One of the big reasons was the Cablecam, which provided spectacular images. When Edmonton’s Tony Tompkins returned a kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown, the Cablecam practically put viewers on the field.
While the technology has been used in NFL broadcasts for a few years now, it seemed to find a new life in the CFL. Because of a wider field, the camera had more room to manoeuvre and brought viewers even closer to the action.
All that was missing was the Cablecam flying over analyst Eric Tillman’s hair. It didn’t come near Pamela Anderson, either. The only downside to the camera is that fans are going to get used to the expensive technology. The same goes for HD, at least for those lucky enough to watch it that way. The big-screen DLP in my rec room made me feel as if I were standing on the sidelines without having to worry about getting killed.
It will be hard to watch another football game with a regular set.
The low-tech coverage was pretty good, too.
Lee handled his first Grey Cup well. Though he did confuse former CFL greats Jackie and James Parker, he managed to convey the game’s excitement without hype.
The same couldn’t be said for reporter Steve Armitage and Walby, who sound more like they’re at the Second Coming than a football game. Somebody should tell them microphones eliminate the need to yell.
Walby had a solid game otherwise, avoiding his usual litany of crimes against the English language. He did a good job of explaining what was going on and telling viewers how Edmonton was exploiting Montreal’s zone defence.
Elliotte Freidman may also have come up with the timeliest bit of information in the history of sideline reporting.
As Montreal kicker Damon Duval lined up to try the field goal that would send the game into overtime, Friedman reported that Duval had been in a screaming match with Montreal coach Don Matthews because of his poor kicking earlier in the game.
That’s the kind of stuff we need to hear more often from the sideline guys, even if they’re still using low-tech microphones.
THE GOOD: CBC’s pre-game show had many highlights, thanks to some strong statements: Brian Williams calling the Jason Maas trade situation
bordering on bush league;" Tillman praising Montreal coach Don Matthews but calling him his own worst enemy." But the real best came in an interview with two superannuated fans who had combined for 131 Grey Cup games. Asked what kept him coming back, one replied, ``The cheerleaders."
THE BAD: Asked to name the league’s best coach, CBC analyst and Argo running back Sean Millington picked Pinball Clemons, but not before apologizing for “being partisian” (sic). And we thought he was Canadian.
THE UGLY: At risk of sounding like a geezer, what was with a half-time show that featured
humps" and my lovely lady lumps?" Cole Porter it wasn’t.